Tripa: Orangutan forest is spared of palm oil plantation

A orangutan youngster sitting in a tree Hope for the orangutans of Tripa

May 25, 2012

Thanks to international pressure on the Indonesian government, the concession of the palm oil company PT Kallista Alam has been revoked. The area has once again been declared part of an official nature reserve. Rainforest Rescue collected 45,239 signatures and presented them to Indonesian authorities. But the struggle for the orangutans in Tripa continues

Thanks to international pressure on the Indonesian government, the concession of the palm oil company PT Kallista Alam has been revoked. The area has once again been declared part of an official nature reserve. Rainforest Rescue collected 45,239 signatures and presented them to Indonesian authorities. PT Kallista Alam had started fires in the highly sensitive ecosystem in Aceh’s Nagan Raya district. Local conservationists estimate that about 100 orangutans were killed by the fires. 

Government official Mas Achmad Santosa announced earlier this week that all PT Kallista Alam activities in Tripa have been halted, and that the company is under investigation for numerous violations. These include unlawful slash-and-burn clearing, establishing illegal plantations, and offenses against Indonesia’s conservation laws. 

The public prosecutor’s office will also be taking action against corrupt politicians and government agencies that issued the company permits for the plantation in Tripa, Santosa added. 

The original protected status of this area in Tripa has thus effectively been restored: On a map dated May 2011, the peat bogs were part of the Leuser Ecosystem, and thus protected against deforestation for palm oil plantations. In November 2011, however, the palm oil lobby succeeded in having the map changed, removing Tripa from the protected Leuser wilderness. PT Kallista Alam was then granted permission for its plantation.

Stopping this palm oil plantation in Tripa is a major success for environmental protection and animal welfare. The forest is especially rich in rare animal and plant species. Of the remaining 6,500 Sumatran orangutans, Tripa is home to one of the densest populations, feeding on the diversity of lush fruit trees. 

However, PT Kallista Alam is not the only palm oil company that is endangering their habitat. A great number of concessions besiege the 60'000 hectares of deep peat swamps in Tripa. 80 percent of the forest is impaired or has already been destroyed. This is why we support local conservationists, in order to protect the habitat of the highly endangered Sumatra orangutans permanently. 

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